Freezer Cooking Part Three
We obviously needed large portions of food since we were cooking 18 meals each. We could've just purchased everything at Costco and saved a little time.
For us though, we shop at Walmart weekly and use price matching. We know where to find the best price matches and knew we could save a significant amount by sticking with this method.
We picked up a couple items at Costco that were a good price and then finished at Walmart. It helped that we went to Walmart on a quiet evening and we were done in less then an hour. I estimate we saved around $45 each by shopping at Walmart.
While you could buy items like chicken, ahead of time when you find a good sale, we didn't want to freeze our meat twice, since we would be freezing all of our recipes from our cooking day.
Shelf stable items like broth, canned tomatoes and freezer bags could be stocked up ahead of time.
The prices listed are for one family. This is what my friend and I, EACH spent on groceries. The miscellaneous items, are the items we had at home. I tried to estimate the best I could, by how much we used of those items.
Beef Roast 6 lbs $30 - Costco
Chicken 8 lbs $16- Walmart
Ketchup $3- Costco
Tomatoes $2 - Walmart
Tomato Paste $1- Walmart
Cauliflower $1- Walmart
Broth $2- Walmart
Onions free- my garden
Celery $1 - Walmart
Mushrooms $4 - Costco
Lean Ground beef $20 (10 lbs) - Walmart
Cream cheese $ .77c - Walmart
Freezer bags $1.77 Walmart
Tinfoil pans $.66 Dollar store
Miscellaneous - bread crumbs, dry mustard, sugar, yeast, beer, (for pizza dough), milk, eggs, spices, onion soup mix, flour - about $5 all together.
Total- $95.20 each or $5.29 per meal.
All of these meals need some sides to complete them.
Pizza - needs toppings such as meat, cheese and veggies
Soup can be served on it's own for a light lunch or with shredded chicken and biscuits for a heartier meal.
All the other meals need a starch like rice, potatoes or pasta to complete it. These items are obviously the cheapest part of your dinner. I will be adding a salad or hot vegetable to these meals as well.
I estimate that with a starch and vegetable side, these meals are easily staying under $10. For a family of six, that's a great price for a healthy dinner and it's the number I shoot for, when it comes to a homemade meal.
Our family consists of two adults, two teenage boys and two school age kids. Basically, we're feeding four adults at every meal!
Here are a few suggestions for keeping your side dish costs down.
Stock up on pasta when it's $1 or less a box. Buy potatoes at stores like H&W produce. Don't buy minute rice, but buy it in bulk or big bags on 15% Tuesday.
One way I keep my vegetable sides cheap, is by making my own salads. If I bought bagged salads for one meal, it would cost at least $6. I can buy one head of green leaf lettuce for under $1.25 and keep it fresh for the week in my Tupperware FridgeSmart.
I am not only pleased about the savings with freezer cooking, but also the peace of mind. With four kids in different after school activities, work, volunteer responsibilities and all the other things required of me in a day, having some dinners done is a relief! And everyone knows, when Mom is happy, everyone is happy!